Beth Cook is a dating coach and wing-woman who throws private dating events for San Francisco’s most awesome and unattached. She also writes and draws about her own dating experiences and would love to hear from you. Want advice? Have advice? Send her an email.

Everyone knows that girls mature faster than boys, right? Well, I decided that I would come up with a way to measure this discrepancy in adults: calculating how old a guy was in “boy years” (like “dog years” with different math).

Consistently, I found that subtracting four from a guy’s actual age would give me a good idea of his maturity level—his age in “boy years” (i.e. a 26 year-old guy would be 22 in “boy years”).

I found this to be a great way to manage my dating expectations. You can’t get that upset at a postulated 22-year-old who lets you down.

Initially uneasy about the universality of my theory, I shared it with a number of girlfriends. They crunched numbers on their guys, past and present—and all agreed with my reasoning.

So there’s my 32-year-old-self on OkCupid doing searches exclusively for men ages 36 to 40, thinking—based on the math—someone in this range would be perfect for me.

And then I realized, THIS is why women find themselves perpetually single.

We have equations, deal-breakers, and agendas galore. No man could possibly meet our very specific lists of needs/wants/desires.

I have one friend who won’t date anyone under 5’10”, another who will only date African American guys, and yet another who dismisses men left and right based on their shoes!

We are too damn picky. And online dating just makes things worse.

When visiting online dating sites, we seek out what we think are our perfect matches. Let me tell you something I’ve learned through years of coaching and dating: people don’t actually know what is good for them!

Talk to any happy couple and ask them if their partner is exactly who they thought they’d end up with. Their answer will almost inevitably be, ‘no’.

I ended up happy as a clam with someone I would have never found while searching online—a guy almost six years my junior with a radically different lifestyle and set of interests. My math is out the window. (I always hated that subject anyhow.)

Now, do yourself a favor and abandon your prerequisites. Expand your online search criteria, and for god sakes, get off your couch once in a while (before you’ve lost every last ounce of real world charm).

Your dream guy may very well be in a package you’re not expecting.

Photo by buyalex